MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi insists he did not feel “disrespected” by Yamaha’s decision to replace him with Fabio Quartararo for the 2021 season.
The seven-time MotoGP champion will make way for Quartararo in the Japanese marque’s factory roster next year, and is mulling the possibility of retirement after 2020 – although Yamaha has made it clear he will have a works-spec M1 available to him if he chooses to continue.
Rossi has stressed that Yamaha choosing to commit to early deals for Quartararo and Maverick Vinales was “logical”, and insisted there were no hard feelings from his side.
“I wouldn’t say that Yamaha disrespected me, especially because they told me that if I want to continue they will support me as much as possible with a third official bike,” Rossi said.
“Of course if they had told me ‘Quartararo will race, you’re out’, I would’ve been upset. But in this way I am still the master of my destiny.”
Rossi said Yamaha’s decision was what he had anticipated already in 2019 after Quartararo blossomed into a consistent frontrunner.
“I was not surprised, sincerely. I already thought this from October of last year.
“I remember [thinking it] when I was in Thailand – because the performance of Quartararo changed the situation.
“Because for sure if Yamaha didn’t have Quartararo, maybe we could have also more time [to decide about the works seat].
“Also I thought that I don’t want to say yes to keep my place in the factory team, and after that not be competitive, because this is the worst thing, especially for me.”
Asked whether he would’ve kept the works seat if he had already made clear his desire to continue beyond 2020, Rossi said: “That’s a good question, but I prefer not to answer.
“You’d have to ask [team manager Lin] Jarvis, he probably knows.”